Suicide, or intentional self-harm, remains a troubling and relevant public health issue in Canada. Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in Canada in 2020, highlighting the extent of the problem and the importance of open discussion around mental health and access to mental health services. Mental health issues in Canada are not uncommon with the percentage of Canadians reporting they have fair or poor mental health increasing steadily over the past decade. A diagnosis of a mental health disorder is a leading risk factor for suicide along with a history of suicide attempts, chronic pain, a family history of mental illness or suicide, and exposure to physical or sexual violence at home. However, most people with such risk factors will not attempt suicide and it can be difficult to determine who will act on suicidal thoughts and who will not. Nevertheless, if you fear that someone you know is at risk for suicide or you yourself are contemplating suicide it is essential to seek help.
How many people die from suicide in Canada each year?
If you are having suicidal thoughts, or you know someone who is, it is essential to seek help. Many countries have suicide crisis or prevention lines that offer free advice and support in such situations. If you live in the United States, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you live in Canada you can call Talk Suicide at 1-833-456-4566.
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